New research by RIM (Rocky Mountain Institute) in partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, reveals that wind and solar energy are on track to supply over one-third of global electricity by 2030, up from around 12% today.
Certain key countries and regions, including China and Europe, are leading the way in adopting clean energy technology at an exponential growth rate, the analysis notes, highlighting that renewable deployment is also becoming increasingly distributed across the Middle East and Africa.
1. Run up to COP28
Based on the forecasts, solar and wind would generate 12,000-14,000TWh by 2030 — 3-4 times higher compared with 2022 levels. It would also surpass recent calls running up to COP28 in Dubai for a tripling of total renewable energy capacity by 2030.
The research also revealed that fossil fuel demand for electricity is set to decrease by 30% from the 2022 peak by 2030 as renewables become more cost-competitive and popular.
Complementary research from Systems Change Lab shows that eight countries — Uruguay, Denmark, Lithuania, Namibia, Netherlands, Palestine, Jordan, and Chile — have already scaled up solar and wind generation faster than what’s needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, proving that a rapid transition to renewable energy is possible.
“This is a clear signal to policy makers, businesses and investors to seize the opportunity of accelerating the energy transition. The call to triple renewable electricity investment and capacity by 2030 are deliverable,” said Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of UNFCCC and a Founding Partner of Global Optimism.
Figueres noted, however, that the removal of barriers to faster renewable deployment will be pivotal in order to streamline permits and to redirect subsidies for polluting energy into clean alternatives. “Otherwise, the exponential growth we are seeing and the benefits that come with it could be derailed unnecessarily,” she said.
2. Global targets
Globally, wind and solar need to grow from 12% to 41% by 2030, an increase of 29 percentage points. Denmark, Uruguay, and Lithuania have already achieved such an increase over a comparable span of eight years, the study reveals. As for Namibia, the Netherlands, Palestine, Jordan, and Chile, these nations have grown solar and wind generation at sufficient rates for five years.
These countries — both developing and developed nations — were driven to accelerate renewables by a variety of factors, including adopting smart and effective policies, maintaining political commitment, lowering the costs of renewable power and improving energy security.
The exponential growth trend in renewable electricity can be harnessed to help developing countries get ahead of the curve and transition faster to a cleaner and more affordable electricity system.Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund
Marking the intention to foster collaboration between African countries and their international partners to accelerate the continent’s progress toward universal energy access, International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol and Kenyan President William Ruto teamed up to call for a New Energy Pact for Africa ahead of the Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi, on 4-6 September.
3. EU’s recent targets
As the uptake of renewables seems to be in motion globally, at least in nations where geographical conditions are propitious or those with the capacity to invest, the European Parliament voted once again to increase the bloc’s ambition. By 2030, renewables will have to make up 42.5% of the EU’s energy consumption, with the aim of achieving 45%.
“In our pursuit of greater energy independence and CO2 reduction, we have raised our renewable energy targets. We have designated renewables as an overriding public interest, streamlining their approval process. Our focus encompasses wind power, photovoltaics, hydropower, geothermal energy, and tidal currents. Biomass from wood will remain classified as renewable energy,” said MEP Markus Pieper after the vote on September 12.
The EU legislation will also speed up procedures to grant permits for new renewable energy power plants, such as solar panels or wind turbines, or to adapt existing ones. This pledge was reinforced by the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen as she delivered the Speech of the European Union yesterday in Strasbourg.
We will put forward a European Wind Power package – working closely with industry and member states. We will fast-track permitting even more and improve the auction systems across the EU.Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission’s President
Despite the intended progress, the European Environment Agency (EEA) says that it’s “unlikely that the EU will meet the new target “unless a deep transformation of the European energy system takes place within this decade, encompassing all sectors”.